Not sure whether I've said this before or not ... but I love Stumbleupon. Obviously I love it as an internet marketer (and to all of you Stumbleupon Vigilantes ... I merely submit good content. I don't try to game the system. Just look at my submissions profile before you become judge, jury, and executioner!), but I'm talking here about loving it as an individual. Rather than sit and watch television in the evenings now after the kids goto bed, I find myself at the computer often, stumbling to beat the band. I've heard and seen others with this affliction too; Shana at Social Desire, Dave from Huomah, and our very own Tom Tsinas to name but a few.

Stumbleupon Logo

Part of the pleasure I take from Stumbleupon is in being the first to find and stumble good content. I feel like a reporter must ... getting their story to market before the masses of other reporters. Its a real adrenaline rush! Accordingly, I'm constantly checking to see how my submissions have performed ... its a whole pride thing. Are they being stumbled by others? Do others like the content? Am I popular oooops did I say that aloud?

That said, here's my holiday gift to all of our faithful readers. In order to build a stronger profile to be a popular 'independant reporter', and a good all-round Stumble contributor, these are the top 7 places I look/things I do to find good unique stories for Stumble ... and the key is to be faster than the 'other independant reporters'

1) Digg - check Digg's upcoming list in categories you're interested in. I find some real gems there. Many diggers are primarily diggers ... stumbleupon is often an afterthought.

2) Google Alerts - set-up Google alerts for keyword topics you are interested in, and have them send directly to your PDA or email address. Make certain you choose 'comprehensive' and 'as it happens' from the drop down menu options, to give yourself the best chance for 'first to stumble' success.

Google Alerts - Alerts Detail Form

3) RSS Feeds - set-up a good RSS aggregator, and start adding popular news sites in topics relating to your interests. Personally, I subscribe to many science, technology, and space type site feeds. I then check frequently.

4) Google News/Yahoo News - within these sites, search for keywords relating to your interests (eg. "planets"), and subscribe to the specific feed for news relating to that term (eg.

5) Change Detection Services - for pages that do not offer RSS feeds, sign up for a change notification service. These services will send you an email often highlighting changes made to a page, if they detect that a page has changed. The key here is to monitor only really important pages that are somehow related to your interests. Personally, I track many of Google's pages.

6) Monitor Popular Sites - who's pages already grace StumbleUpon and Digg type sites frequently. It may take a bit of analysis, but its well worth the investment of a couple of hours time. The logic of course is that sites that are frequently popular have an inside edge on information, and therefore will be popular more frequently in the future.

7) Social Media Plugin - this Firefox plugin won't necessarily help you find good content, but it'll quickly identify if content has already been submitted to Stumble or not ... or even to Digg, Reddit, etc. It was created by the good folks at 97thFloor.

As with all reporters, timing is the key. You absolutely have to be first to get the story to Stumble. Accordingly, if regularly submitting great content to Stumble is a passion of yours, it will require a good deal of time and effort. You've got to be available to submit the content as soon as you get notice of it, otherwise other independant reporters will beat you to it. Accordingly, the effectiveness of the tips above will only be as strong as your commitment to take quick action once content opportunities are found.

Hope this helps! Happy stumbling ...